The Mighty Logo

What Eating Disorder Recovery Needs

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

It needs ears just big enough to hear the truth, but small enough to be able to shut when the lies start. Because they will start.

It needs two arms, connected to a warm body. It needs these arms to be open when they need to be open, and closed when they should be closed. Sometimes it will be surprised to find these arms are open, because it expects the arms to be hanging limply by the side. Nope, instead, these arms are open wide. Waiting to close at just the right moment to perform a swift and gentle hug.

It needs a reminder. And then another. And another. It needs someone to tell it that it is not welcome anymore, but that those other things waiting on the sidelines? (Patience, hunger, yearning, love, generosity, kindness…the list goes on an on…) Those other things are more than welcome. In fact, they are going to be required, because this disease is going to leave a gaping hole, and something has to fill it.

It needs sleep and lots of rest. It has been working hard for years to take over someone’s life, and now there is so much catching up to do; not only physically, but mentally and in every which way.

It needs a mouth, to open and open and open. It needs to fill that mouth with food. Safe foods, forgotten foods, new and exciting foods. Filling foods, light foods and heavy foods, fruits and vegetables, fat and fat and fat, breads, carbs, noodles and rice. Sugar and salt and flour and mix it all up and fill it all up.

It needs no mirrors or scales. No reminders of what it is or was. It needs a fresh start, a clean slate. It needs no recent history.

It does not need judgement or criticism. It needs an open mind and love love love. It already knows how to be mean and critical and all too judgmental.

It needs gradual change. Nothing too sudden or rash. It is skittish and needs a gentle hand guiding it in a new direction. It needs time to change and time to decide that “yes, this is OK.”

It needs guidance, and lots of it. Someone to observe and intervene, to be bold and say, “This is not a healthy behavior.”

Recovery needs…

Originally published: March 12, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home